Redbridge Labour Leader Meets Co-Operative Council Chiefs

Ed Milliband meets Labour & Co-op Representatives including Bob Littlewood

Redbridge Labour Group Leader Bob Littlewood was in Rochdale recently to hear Labour Leader Ed Milliband give his backing to Labour Councils that are handing power to local people in a radical bid to improve services. Labour’s cooperative councils believe almost all services can be improved by shifting more power to local people. This new approach is not about turning all services into co-ops nor is it intended to replace skilled professionals. It is about giving local people choice and control over the services they use.

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, the first cooperative council, said,

We are changing the way we run council services so that local people have a much bigger say over what happens to them and the places they live. It means more community-owned cooperative housing, more older people choosing which care services they want to use, more local control over parks and green spaces. We call it the cooperative council and the community work together to make life better.

Michael Stephenson, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party said,

These Labour Councils have come to the home of the co-operative movement in Rochdale to reclaim founding traditions of the Labour and Co-operative movements- of collective action and co-operation, or empowerment and enterprise. These co-operative councils will help transform local services and local communities.

How Does This Translate Here In Redbrige?

In Redbridge of course we are not in control of the Council, it is run by the Conservatives in partnership with their Lib Dem allies. We have developed a strategy for rethinking service provision. Since May 2010 the Con/Dem leadership of Redbridge has embarked on a savings programme involving very serious reductions in public services. They have concentrated on finding across the board savings and lopping off bits here and there.

  • They have failed to work out a vision of what their priorities are for the future, or to examine all of the possible means of providing local services.
  • Their savings programme, which is not coupled with any vision or direction means it is impossible to justify any individual service cut or redundancy.
  • The Council carries out lots of consultation, but this is not the same as working with residents.
  • We thus vigorously oppose the planned cuts and will not accept privatisation.


  • It is time to look at new ideas.
  • We would examine other councils who have created partnerships with residents to provide services or community facilities.
  • We would work out where we can establish partnerships with residents to provide services or community facilities.
  • Rather than cut grants to the voluntary sector, we would examine expanding their role.
  • We would examine where mutuals or not for profit organisations can take on service provision.

Our Labour Action Teams are out weekly talking to you on your doorstep.

If you want to read the Co-operative Councils press release or a fuller version of our rethinking of service provision the full documents are available on this site.

Ilford South On The March

March 2 Me Matt Bob Ilford South sent a large contingent to the TUC ‘March for the Alternative for Jobs Growth and Justice’ on Saturday March 26th. Our banner had its first outing in many years on its newly restored poles and attracted a bit of attention from photographers as we still have an embroidered one…none of this new fangled plastic! It was an enjoyable day for all and it was clear that the Police estimates of 250,000 quoted in some newspapers were way off the mark. It was easily 450,000. The first marchers were arriving at Hyde Park before we had even left the embankment.


MArch number 1 Liz and Bob 

If you missed out on this join us again in the march to save King George Hospital starting at Queens Hospital Romford at 4 p.m. on Friday 8 April and arriving at Ilford Town Hall for the rally addressed by all the local M.P’s at 6 p.m.

Cuts Are The Wrong Cure

Why cuts are the wrong cure from False Economy on Vimeo.

Ilford South Members Join The March For The Alternative

Today’s March for the Alternative, organised by the Trades Union Congress, is expected to be the largest civil society demonstration in many years. And Labour Party members from Ilford South will be there carrying the Ilford South banner. Not everyone can join the march. Whether you’re attending the march or not you can help create an online protest that matches that on the street. Here are some suggestions, courtesy of False Economy.

First picture back from the march!


Labour Publishes A Vision For Redbridge

The Labour Group on Redbridge Council this week published “Rethinking Service Provision In Redbridge” which sets out a new approach & imaginative approach to providing council services in the borough. Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Bob Littlewood, called for greater engagement with users in the provision of services, greater involvement of voluntary groups and more power for area committees.

Read the strategy here

Chaotic Council Cabinet Decides Closure Of Downshall Centre “In Principle”

The campaign by Downshall Centre users forced a hurried change to the agenda at Tueday night’s cabinet meeting. Various caveats were added to the recommendation for a “Free School” to replace the Downshall Centre. But the decision was still taken “in principle” to sell the centre to E-Act, a national organisation wishing to set up a school in Ilford & voluntary groups were left no clearer about their future.

The caveats were included to ensure that the council discharges its legal obligations, particularly in respect of Equalities legislation. Cllr Keith Prince, Leader of the Conservative & Liberal Democrat coalition running Redbridge, issued an apology to voluntary organisations & users of the Downshall Centre for the way things had been handled by his colleague, Cllr Alan Weinberg, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. (more…)

Save Our Services

“The unprecedented attack on front line services in Redbridge and elsewhere is not an economic necessity but is part of a wider agenda to undermine the public sector.”

So said the preamble to Labour’s motion to the budget setting council meeting at Ilford Town Hall on Thursday 3rd March.

The Tory led administration rejected the motion and pushed through £25 million cuts over the next 3 years with the help of their Lib Dem accessories. £15 million will be cut in the current year.

Cllr Bob Littlewood, Leader of the Labour Group said:

“The cuts proposed in this budget are unprecedented and unnecessary. The coalition government wants to dismantle the public services in this country.”


Save Goodmayes Library

High on the list of cuts proposed by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition running Redbridge is Goodmayes Library. They are proposing to close this modern purpose built facility in 2013. The Council feels that the tiny shop premises at Seven Kings are sufficient for all of the areas needs.

Mike Gapes M.P. Local Labour Councillors and members have been active in the campaign to oppose the closure of the Library. This weekend to celebrate National Libraries day Mike Gapes M.P. was at the protest at Seven Kings Library when hundreds of residents turned out to show how inadequate the facility was if lots of people tried to use it at once. Later demonstrators massed at Goodmayes Library itself in a demonstration of support. On Sunday Mike and the Labour Team called door to door in the Goodmayes Area collecting signatures for the petition opposing closure.

As of today the petition has 2530 signatures and it is intended to present it to the Council’s cabinet meeting on 15 February. The petition has been set up by an independent, broad alliance of local people formed to save the Library. If you have not signed go to and sign there now, or call at the Library in Goodmayes Lane and sign there. We need as many signatures as possible before this vital meeting.

If you want to attend the Cabinet Meeting it is at 7.15 p.m. on Tuesday February 15th at Ilford Town Hall.

Ali at Goodmayes Library Campaigners with full clocktower

In our pictures we see Labour Cllr. Ali Hai addressing demonstrators at the Library and the Labour Team prior to setting off knocking door to door on Sunday morning.

Savage Cuts In Redbridge


Redbridge Labour Group of Councillors have formed a save our services group with the Trade Unions and Community Groups in Redbridge to challenge those cuts which harm essential services. You may already have seen us leafleting in the Town Centre and these photos are of our activities on Saturday15 January. Cuts Stall

Musicians Union Picture

In one photo  we see the Labour Party and Trade Union Team lined up at the Street Stall with Mike Gapes M.P. and in the other councillors and activists with the Musicians Union Flag drawing attention to the proposed cuts at the Music School. 

On 21 October the Tory/LibDem led Redbridge Council agreed £4 million cuts across the board. On 10 January 2011 they proposed £20 million more. These proposals are to be put before the Council meeting on 3rd March.

Among the proposals are:-

Closing Goodmayes Library in 2013, cuts to the out of hours service for reporting anti- social behaviour, 5 Parks Police Officers to go, 10 instead of every 5 day sweeping for residential roads, 4 public toilets to close, increases in parking and community based care charges,a 6.4% increase in rents, cuts in the service for those needing home adaptations, massive cuts in the Youth Service, the slashing of subsidies for the Music School, Drama Centre, Glasebury Outdoor Centre, the Museum and Fairlop Sailing Centre, 250 jobs many in front line services to go.

  • We say these are serious cuts to our local services. They come fast on the heels of the devastating increases in university tuition fees, the abolition of the education maintenance allowance, the massive hike in fares and the rise in VAT.
  • We say it is unacceptable  to axe 250 Council jobs, many of them on the front line.
  • We say that economic recovery will be further delayed by such deep cuts.
  • We say that local people should not be paying for the mistakes of the bankers.

Look at the full list of proposed cuts compiled from Council documents by Labour’s Cllr. Filly Maravala.

Look at our leaflet advertising our planned public meeting.


Read on to see a list of confirmed speakers.


Tory Housing Benefit Shocker

The Tories and their Lib Dem allies in Government plan to cut £1.7 billion per year from housing benefit by 2010/15, with the vast majority of cuts hitting tenants in the private rented sector.

They want to introduce caps on rents paid and increase payments in future years only in line with Consumer Price Index rather than average rent increases. We estimate this will mean on average a £325 a year loss per private sector tenant by 2014/1015. They want to cut housing benefit by 10% for people who have been on JobSeekers Allowance for over 12 months. This means an average cut of £470 per year. They want to restrict housing benefit for working age social tenants who are in a house larger than they need. They want all this to start from next April.


  • 50,000 pensioners on Pension Credit will lose £11 per week.
  • Hundreds of thousands of working families will lose £11 per week
  • The most severely disabled will lose on average £13 per week.


  • We estimate that 1,880 tenants in 2 bedroomed accommodation in Redbridge will lose £12 per week.
  • 950 tenants in 3 bedroomed accommodation could lose up to £22 per week.


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